Two coastal patrol boats added to the naval service fleet
The government has announced the purchase of two coastal patrol boats from the New Zealand Defense Force to add to the naval service fleet here.
The announcement was made by Defense Minister Simon Coveney during a reception at Naval Service Headquarters in Cork.
The new coastal patrol boats were purchased at a combined cost of €26 million. They will each require a crew of 24, half the crew required for the Navy’s existing offshore vessels.
Despite the Naval Service’s current recruiting difficulties, Coveney said the purchase of the two ships made sense at this time.
“What we’re doing is basically replacing outdated ships that are 37 years old with much newer ships that are only a decade old,” he said.
“They require a lot less crew; they’re more efficient and faster. They have a shallower draft, so that makes for a much more balanced fleet.”
The two new vessels are due to enter service next year on the East Coast and in the Irish Sea. They will be used for fisheries protection and search and rescue.
Minister Coveney described their purchase as an interim measure.
“It’s good value for money. We’re modernizing our fleet, making it more balanced,” he said.
The minister said the purchase of the two ships was “absolutely not” a signal that the government was giving up on being able to provide a full crew for the existing naval service fleet.
He pointed out that work has already begun to commission a new multipurpose vessel that will become the largest vessel in the naval service fleet.